When talking hair, few things are worse than putting hand to head and realizing your hair feels like tinder material. Tinder is the stuff people gather and use to start fires. The dryer it is, the better for fire starting. As naturals this is not what we want for our hair! Dry hair leads to broken hair. Here are a 10 tips you can use to soften your curls asap:
I wasn’t always a believer in pre-pooing because quite frankly it seemed counterintuitive (and a waste of product): add oil/conditioner to your hair and allow to sit for 20-30 min (or longer) and proceed with wash day. It still isn’t something I do regularly, but I do pre-poo when I feel my hair is really in need of some TLC. Pre-pooing definitely helps to soften the hair and add moisture prior to washing. If my hair is really feeling like straw, I find that pre-pooing with heat is even more effective. By the end of wash day your hair will feel amazingly soft and moisturized.
If ever there were a poster kid for deep conditioning, it’s me! After washing or co-washing, there is no better way to impart moisture to your curls than by deep conditioning. Using the right deep conditioner for your hair will not only soften quickly, but it will also help to detangle. Kick the results of your favorite deep conditioner up a notch by adding your favorite oil and/or by adding heat for 20-30 minutes before rinsing out.
Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo/Co-Wash
It’s no secret that shampoos containing harsh ingredients that strip the natural oils from our hair have been named a contributor to brittle and stripped hair. One way you can steer clear of this is by using a sulfate-free shampoo or use a co-wash.
Seal In Moisture
Have you ever tried to put lotion on after your skin has completely dried from a shower? I have, and moments later the ash perseveres. Well the same thing happens with our hair. We have to trap the moisture (that you spend time and effort to add) in with an oil or cream. This is a big step you want to make sure not to skip or you may always feel like your hair is lacking moisture.
Amp Up Treatments with Heat
Like I mentioned in earlier tips, a great way to amp up treatments like pre-poos and deep conditioning is adding heat. There are a number of ways to do this such as sitting under a dryer, trapping the natural heat from your head with a plastic cap, or using a hot head cap (basically a cloth processing cap filled with flax seed you heat up in the microwave). These are healthy ways to use heat on your hair where you don’t need to worry about heat damage.
Warm Wash, Cool Rinse
Another tip for managing how your hair feels and retains moisture is to wash and rinse with the right kind of water. It is important to wash/co-wash your hair with warm water because it opens up the cuticle and allows the hair to receive moisture and nutrients. When it is time to rinse out your conditioner, it is important to do so with cool water because it helps to close the cuticle, seal in moisture (from the conditioner), and helps with sheen. Don’t spend all that time pre-pooing, co-washing, and deep conditioning, only to not keep any of that moisture.
Check Your Water
Sometimes our hair (and skin) can react negatively to the hardness of the water we use. “Hard” water means the water is loaded with a high mineral content because of calcium and magnesium that is dissolved in the water. A common result of using hard water is a film like residue. If you suspect you’re using hard water and it is negatively effecting your hair, try filtering the water.
Protective styling is a good way to help soften hair because it keeps you out of your hair, it keeps your ends protected, and it helps retain moisture. In the colder months, protective styling can help keep your hair happy and balanced, especially after a good wash day.
Hot Oil Treatment
Hot oil treatments are pretty similar to pre-pooing and deep conditioning. The hot oil helps to smooth the cuticle and soften the hair.
It’s a bit cliché these days but consistency is so important to get the results you’re looking for. If your hair feels like straw, there could be a number of contributing factors but doing one hot oil treatment or one deep condition is not going to solve the problem indefinitely. It will be important to make good tips good practices that will ultimately change the overall health of your hair over time.
What’s your favorite way to soften your curls?